Pakistan holds Afghanistan as a pivotal key to its connectivity with Central Asia and beyond: Commerce Minister

Islamabad, November 13, 2014 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan held a meeting with the Minister for Finance of Afghanistan Mr. Umer Zakhilwal in Islamabad and resolved to take measures to double mutual trade within next two years. Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, Afghan Deputy Commerce Minister Mr. Mozzamil Shinwari, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Musazai and Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Muhammad Arbab Shahzad were also present in the meeting.

Mr. Dastgir informed the visiting Afghan Minister that the present government of Pakistan holds Afghanistan as a pivotal key to its connectivity with the Central Asia and beyond.

He said that to facilitate and enhance trade with Afghanistan, Pakistan has already initiated a project to upgrade the border posts of Torkham and Chaman and equip them with all the latest technologies of communication and facilitation. The Minister informed the Afghan Finance Minster about the three pillars of the economic policy of the present Pakistani government which are Trade, Investment and Connectivity.

The two sides agreed to hold talks to take measures for speedy and efficient transport of goods between and across the two countries, information sharing between the customs of the two countries, enhance trade fairs, curb illicit trade, seven-day operations at the border posts and easy access of the transportation trucks of one country to the far off areas of the other country. They also agreed to make an efficient mechanism to check the progress of development on various issues by holding meetings regularly.

The Afghan Minister for Finance apprised the meeting of the lucrative incentives that the Afghan government offers to Pakistani investors. He said that the Special Economic Zones of Qundooz located near the border of Tajikistan and Faryab near the border of Turkmenistan provide countless opportunities to the prospective investors for a profitable business.

These zones prove tax free environment, cheap and abundant supply of electricity and gas, connectivity with the neighbouring Central Asia through railway network and vast untapped Afghan markets. The Afghan minister invited the Pakistani investor to invest in the virgin markets of Afghanistan and assured them of the complete support of the Afghan government.

The Afghan minister invited the Pakistan Minister for Commerce to visit Afghanistan with a delegation of investors and traders and explore the opportunities that Afghanistan offers.

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